Best Jobs For Older Workers

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By Anthony Balderrama


In the campaigning leading up to the presidential election, both candidates spent time discussing the needs of an aging population and the future that's in store for young Americans. Americans are living longer, and that means the number of older workers is growing and will continue to for the coming generations.

Combine this aging population with the difficult economy, and you have a population that no longer exits the workforce as soon as they reach their 65th birthday. Recently, Economic Modeling Specialists International looked at the situation of workers 65 years and older in order to see what their professional situation is like, and they found a group of workers that is steadily growing. In 2001, workers 65-plus were 4 percent of the workforce; in 2012 these workers are 4.7 percent of the workforce. Based on EMSI's analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Quarterly Workforce Indicators, here's a snapshot of today's retirement-age workforce:


Fastest-Aging Fields

One way to understand where these older workers are is to see which occupations have the largest proportion of workers 65 or older, and how quickly they are growing. Here are the 10 fastest-aging occupations and the growth of 65-plus workers in the past four years:

1. Tax preparers
  • Workers 65-plus: 27.2 percent.
  • 2008-2012 growth of 65-plus workers: 2.5 percent.

2. Ushers, lobby attendants and ticket takers
  • Workers 65-plus: 19.9 percent.
  • 2008-2012 growth of 65-plus workers: 2.2 percent.

3. Costume attendants
  • Workers 65-plus: 15.2 percent.
  • 2008-2012 growth of 65-plus workers: 2 percent.

4. Entertainment attendants and related workers (all other)
  • Workers 65-plus: 18 percent.
  • 2008-2012 growth of 65-plus workers: 1.8 percent.

5. Woodworkers (all other)
  • Workers 65-plus: 10.4 percent.
  • 2008-2012 growth of 65-plus workers: 1.5 percent.

6. Architects (except landscape and naval)
  • Workers 65-plus: 10 percent.
  • 2008-2012 growth of 65-plus workers: 1 percent.

7. Farm products buyers and purchasing agents
  • Workers 65-plus: 15 percent.
  • 2008-2012 growth of 65-plus workers: 0.8 percent.

8. Reporters and correspondents
  • Workers 65-plus: 8.7 percent.
  • 2008-2012 growth of 65-plus workers: 0.8 percent.

9. Industrial-organizational psychologists
  • Workers 65-plus: 6.7 percent.
  • 2008-2012 growth of 65-plus workers: 0.8 percent.

10. Locker room, coatroom and dressing room attendants
  • Workers 65-plus: 10.1 percent.
  • 2008-2012 growth of 65-plus workers: 0.8 percent.

Jobs With The Highest Proportion Of Retirement-Age Workers

Although the 10 aforementioned occupations have the fastest-aging workforce, they don't necessarily have the most 65-plus workers. Here are the eight occupations with the highest percentage of workers 65 years and older:

1. Embalmers
  • Percentage of 65-plus workers: 83.5 percent.

2. Funeral attendants
  • Percentage of 65-plus workers: 78.9 percent.

3. Motor vehicle operators (all other)
  • Percentage of 65-plus workers: 54 percent.

4. Crossing guards
  • Percentage of 65-plus workers: 36.6 percent.

5. Music directors and composers
  • Percentage of 65-plus workers: 35.8 percent.

6. Models
  • Percentage of 65-plus workers: 35.3 percent.

7. Clergy
  • Percentage of 65-plus workers: 34.9 percent.

8. Religious workers (all other)
  • Percentage of 65-plus workers: 34.8 percent.

Where The Workers Are

Workers might dream of the day they retire and head off to a sunny beach, but right now they're staying where their paychecks are.

The five states with the highest proportion of 65-plus workers:

1. South Dakota
  • Percentage of 65-plus workers: 5.9 percent.

2. Kansas
  • Percentage of 65-plus workers: 5.6 percent.

3. New Jersey
  • Percentage of 65-plus workers: 5.6 percent.

4. Connecticut
  • Percentage of 65-plus workers: 5.5 percent.

5. Florida
  • Percentage of 65-plus workers: 5.5 percent.


The five states with the lowest proportion of 65-plus workers:

1. Alaska
  • Percentage of 65-plus workers: 2.9 percent.

2. Utah
  • Percentage of 65-plus workers: 3.6 percent.

3. Georgia
  • Percentage of 65-plus workers: 3.9 percent.

4. Michigan
  • Percentage of 65-plus workers: 3.9 percent.

5. Idaho
  • Percentage of 65-plus workers: 4.2 percent.


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